Once Upon A Dream
Illustration by Phoemela Delos Santos
I was four years old.
When people asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up,
I’d stare at them wide-eyed and rest my finger on my temple,
Trying to keep up with the options racing through my head,
And when I couldn’t decide, I’d say “I don’t know”.
I was ten years old.
I stared at the bold heading of my half-baked essay.
It read: “Teaching: My Life’s Ambition”.
Truth be told, I never knew why I wanted to teach,
Never crossed my mind how it came to be.
Maybe it was the talking or the feel of chalk on my skin,
Or maybe even how the thought of it fit me like a glove.
However, there were simply no ifs nor buts.
Back then, reason was never a warrant for dreaming
I was sixteen years old.
“What will you be taking up?”, my teacher queried.
Looking up from my form, I answered “Education, Miss.”
It was probably the look on her face that scarred me,
Or was it the doubt in her voice that did it for me?
Why can’t one make music or art,
Because he can’t make money out of it?
All these thoughts came rushing right at me,
And all at a speed that I couldn’t dodge from.
I know society thinks passion is a waste of potential,
But not to the extent of undermining one’s profession.
For a moment, I didn’t know how and what to do,
Instead, I found myself altering my form – including my future.
I am twenty-two years old.
Now, I have books to keep rather than plans to make,
Accounts to check rather than lessons to impart.
I traded my freedom for security.
My aspirations became the cost of my stability.
I have succumbed to the whims of society,
Yielded to a culture that honors titles over zeal,
Marking the boundaries of what once was infinite,
Of what once was a dream.